Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), a national human rights organization, has released its 2017 ‘Human Rights Situation Report’ (HRSR), with corruption, unethical behavior within the security sector, rape and bad labor practices still topping the list.
RAL, formerly the Prisoners Assistance Program (PAP), is a national human rights, prison reform and anti-torture advocacy and torture victims’ rehabilitation NGO.
The 2017 HRSR is in fulfillment of RAL’s objective to update the general public, government and relevant national institutions, regional and international partners of the human rights situation in Liberia through investigation, monitoring, documenting and reporting human rights abuses and violations.
In the report, 2017 was described as a year of challenge to law enforcement officers, especially the Liberia National Police (LNP) since the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) turned security of the state over to the government at the end of its mission.
Cases documented in the report for the year 2017 include murder, mob violence, corruption, crimes, pollution, prisons, bad labor practice, security, child abuse and judiciary matters as well as human rights abuses and violations in the country.
Unprofessional Attitude of Police officers
The report documents the unprofessional behavior of police officers. Police officers were reported to have deserted their posts, moved into the streets harassing commercial vehicles and street vendors and at the same time roaming the streets.
According to the report, such officers were arrested, disciplined on the orders of the then deputy police director for operations Abraham Kromah.
Some officers were also dismissed for their involvement in various crimes. The Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) wrote a complaint against police officers for inhumane treatment inflicted against sellers, brutal behavior toward protesters at MVTC, and some were dismissed while others were reinstated.
The report also highlighted the ill-treatment of Sonah James resulting to blindness after injury to her right eye; the arrest of LNP officers Jusu Kanneh, 48, and Clapton Jacob by officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) in Kakata; some members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) destroying their quarters at the Kessely Barracks in Margibi County, AFL officers brutalizing community residents and EPS officer Darlington George caught in crime.
In 2017, various crimes were committed. They included the murder of Frank Tarlue by Dominic Bility in Johansen Community, Bendu Dwalu beating her nine-year-old son, Arthur Barclay, to death in Peanut Community in Weala, Margibi County; the arrest of parents in Bong County for beating their daughter to death, the sentencing to death of a 65-year old man, Roosevelt Toe, a sheriff at the Kanweakan Magisterial Court in Maryland County for murdering his wife, Etta Toe.
Others included the killing of Fedesco Chea by an officer of the Zone Six Police Depot in Brewerville, the ten year sentencing of Emmanuel Swen for stabbing his friend, Jerry Lewis, the killing of a security officer by two individuals in Paynesville, and six persons charged with murder for killing Abdullah Jalloh.
Meanwhile, mob violence still remains a major challenge for which six persons were arrested for torture. More than 15 ritualistic killings were also reported during the year under review.
Corruption remains endemic according to the RAL’s report, which captured the alleged corruption web at LIBTELCO involving its former boss Sebastian Muah, corruption syndicate allegedly involving former House Speaker Alex Tyler and others, illegal contracts during Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s regime, corruption at the National Investment Commission, allegation of corruption against NEC chair Jerome Korkoya, corruption at Finance Ministry, lawmakers establishing illegal companies, arrest of three auditors of LACC, LRA, illegal issuance of Liberian passports to Indian nationals.
Rape was also captured, showing that the menace remains serious across the country. More than 20 rape cases were reported, including the one allegedly carried out by former Grand Gedeh District two Representative Morais Willie.
Terrible conditions at prison facilities across the country were also captured in the RAL’s report which noted that such situations continue to cause problems for the judicial system.
Bad labor Practices:
Bad labor practices across the country was also mentioned in the report. The organization’s Program Coordinator for Liberia, Sam Nimely called on the government and its partners to ensure that issues highlighted in the report are addressed properly.